UNCTAD15 Opening Plenary and Ceremony – Oct 4, 2021. (UNCTAD)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has told the global community that it is “immoral and unjust” for those causing the suffering of small island developing states, to say they should pay to correct the issues on their own.

Ms. Mottley expressed this view today as she delivered remarks at the opening of the 15th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 15), at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. The event is being held in a virtual format, with events being streamed from Barbados, Geneva and across the world.

“It is immoral and unjust in the extreme for persons to cause our suffering and our societies and economies to be confronted with an existential crisis, and then say that we should pay to correct it on our own. That is as immoral and unjust as it comes,” she insisted.

The Prime Minister told her audience that it was necessary to keep global temperatures from increasing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

She continued: “If the world cannot find the political will to have the increased ambitions to allow us to pause at 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, then it is sending the very clear signal that they are prepared to play Russian roulette with the future and fate of small island developing states which occupy 1/5 of the global…nations…. It is an unfortunate signal….

“We would want to believe that we will summon the will, but we are equally pragmatic and recognise that if the will cannot be summoned to contain the increase in temperature that is necessary to sustain our societies and economies in the best way that we know is in our interests, then we must see a commitment to increase the funds that are available for adaptation, and indeed the manner in which those funds are delivered to us.”

Ms. Mottley said she was hopeful islands would see at least 50 per cent of the funds being committed for the purposes of adaptation. 

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley delivering remarks at the opening of the 15th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 15), at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, today. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

She added that the intense climatic activities had resulted in flash flooding, droughts and water shortages which have led to significant problems for several countries.  

She stated that this four-day conference, along with the upcoming COP 26 at Glasgow, and the World Trade Organisational Ministerial meeting would give officials an opportunity to move these issues that were “on the table for too long”.

The Prime Minister said she was hopeful that the political declaration at the end of the conference would allow officials to begin marshalling the political will of the nations to an outcome that would benefit people.

“We, therefore, hope that the spirit of Speightstown anchored by the Bridgetown Covenant will, therefore, create that framework, over the next three years, [where] we can work to advance the causes of this great organisation,” she noted.

The Prime Minister said she was looking forward to the deliberations and identified climate crisis, debt challenges and issues of trade as some of the areas confronting small island developing states.

She gave the commitment that Government and the Caribbean Community would work assiduously to ensure the issues were kept on the front burner through advocacy and that the needed legislative framework at the national level could be put in place.


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